BERKELEY, Calif. – Elisabeth Crandall-Howell, who has served on the Cal women’s gymnastics staff for two seasons, has been promoted to associate head coach, director of Cal gymnastics Justin Howell announced Tuesday.
"Liz has one of the brightest and most-respected gymnastics minds in the country, and her expertise has been instrumental in the upward trajectory of this program,” Howell said. “She is a student-athlete centered coach and pushes all of us to become ‘One Day Better.’ As an associate head coach, Liz will continue to bring stability and professional expertise, and help us recruit the best and the brightest to our incredible university. I look forward to a very bright future for Cal Gymnastics."
Since joining the Cal women’s gymnastics staff in September 2012, Crandall-Howell has been integral in Cal’s stellar ascent through the national rankings. The Bears finished the 2012 season ranked 49th nationally shortly before Crandall-Howell joined the program, and finished ranked 16th this season. Cal’s 33-spot rise since 2012 marks the largest margin of improvement in NCAA gymnastics history, a feat only one other school has achieved (Maryland, 1997-99). Under her tutelage, Cal earned back-to-back NCAA Regional berths in 2013 and 2014, and this season the Bears sent individual gymnasts to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2003.
"Liz's commitment to our student-athletes and their development as gymnasts, students and community members has been a constant since her arrival on campus,” said women’s gymnastics sport supervisor and 2014 NACGC/W Region I Administrator of the Year Ryan Cobb. “Her title now accurately reflects the high level of coaching experience, expertise and leadership she provides to our student-athletes and the Cal women's gymnastics program in so many areas."
As associate head coach, Crandall-Howell will continue working with all aspects of the Cal women’s gymnastics program, including fitness and nutrition, academic support and character development both in and out of the gym. Additionally, Crandall-Howell lends her expertise as an international brevet judge to help strengthen Cal’s routines across the board.
“I have been so honored to be a part of our team’s journey over the past few seasons,” Crandall-Howell said. “These athletes continue to push forward toward excellence in every aspect of their lives. They inspire us to work harder every day. I am excited and proud to continue to build this program into the future.”
In her two seasons at Cal, Crandall-Howell’s leadership has been most evident on beam. After posting a 48.285 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on the event in 2012, Cal finished the past season with a 49.015 RQS and a 49.275 season-high on the event, which was also the program’s second highest beam score in program history. In 2014, the Bears broke the 49.0 mark on beam for the first time since 2008, and continued to break it, posting four team scores of 49.0 or better. The beam team combined for nine of Cal's 33 event titles.
Crandall-Howell also helped the team make similar gains on floor, where the Bears improved from a 48.330 RQS in 2012 to a 49.155 RQS and 49.300 high in 2014. The 2014 squad claimed five floor titles and posted five floor scores of 9.90 or higher. The team matched the program's fourth-highest (49.300) and fifth-highest (49.275) floor scores in program history.
Individually, Crandall-Howell has been crucial in the development of 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Serena Leong, helping her to the third-highest beam score (9.90) and second-highest floor score (9.925) in program history, feats less than 10 Cal gymnasts have been able to accomplish. Jessica Howe wrapped up her freshman season with four beam titles and set a career-high 9.90 on the event alongside Leong.
Crandall-Howell joined the Cal family as an assistant coach in 2012 after coaching at Airborne Gymnastics since 2007. She was the head coach at Woodland Gymnastics from 1998-2003 and served as an assistant coach at Sacramento State from 2001-03. As a gymnast, she was a seven-time U.S. National Team member from 1987-92, competing at the Olympic trials in 1992 and earning a silver medal with the 1991 World Championships team. She earned a full gymnastics scholarship to Brigham Young University, where she was a two-time first team All-American on the uneven bars and helped the Cougars to three NCAA Championships from 1994-96.
"She has led elite-level club programs as a head coach in the past, and her body of work in this sport is extensive with experiences as a gymnast, coach and internationally-accredited judge. We are thrilled to have Liz at Cal as a part of coaching staff that is consistently taking this program to new heights," Cobb said.
Crandall-Howell received her bachelor’s degree in physical education and health promotion from BYU in 1997. She and husband Justin Howell welcomed son Greyson in 2013, joining sons Jacob and Noah.